From Lambeth Palace
In the context of the Meissen Agreement, Archbishop Justin welcomed leaders from the Church Council of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD) to Lambeth Palace today.
During the visit, in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, an English beech tree was planted in the Lambeth Palace garden. A similar tree was planted by representatives of the Anglican Communion in Wittenburg in 2009.
The VELKD delegation included the Presiding Bishop of the VELKD, Gerhard Ulrich; Bishop Martin Lind and Mrs Lind, representing the wider Lutheran World Federation. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith & Order, Anglican Communion, were also present.
Speaking to the group shortly after the ceremony, Archbishop Justin said: “It is crucial that the agenda of our ecumenical relationships is not limited to the status of our churches in relationship to each other. We are profoundly united in the work of Christ.”
The Archbishop noted that the Meissen Agreement was approved by the Church of England General Synod in July 1990 “without dissent”, which remains a “significant achievement”.
Archbishop continued; “In the broader context of Anglican Communion and Lutheran World Federation relationships, I am sure this will meeting will be a further sign of churches growing together and responding to the call of Christ that all may be one that the world may see who Christ is.”
Bishop Ulrich said that the trees which had been planted in the Lambeth garden and in Wittenburg showed how deeply the Lutheran World Federation valued its relationship with the Anglican Communion. “It is a symbol of reconciled diversity,” he said.
Bishop Ulrich went on to say that the Meissen Agreement “gives witness to the good and trustworthy relations between the two churches”.
Archbishop Justin sent greetings last month to the 8th Meissen Theological Conference, saying that the Meissen Process had “made a significant contribution to the reconciliation process between our two nations and has enabled the establishment of a large number of vibrant partnerships and links between our churches”.
Canon Kenneth Kearon and Bishop Martin Lind plant tree in Lambeth Palace garden (Photo credit: ACNS/ Neil Vigers)